I think people really underestimate how fucking evil a large chunk of American Christianity is, when they try to say to antichoicers “well if you’re against abortion, at least you should support things like WIC and SNAP, so that women facing an unplanned pregnancy can still feed their future kid”
I’ll be blunt, to American Christians like this, “but single mothers and their kids will starve!” is the entire fucking point. Being ostracized by your family and community and left for you and your bastard child to starve alone in abject misery and deprivation is what they believe the Godly punishment should be for being “unchaste,” and that things like food benefits and contraception are destroying moral society because they let women have unapproved sex without being as controlled by the fear of being cast out to starve with an unwanted kid (this also heavily ties into misogynist racism against woc, especially black women, who are accused of being “welfare queens,” draining good, properly chaste white Christians with kids born from their supposedly mindlessly lustful and irresponsible behavior, that can only be kept in check with threats of starvation or violence).
“Women (especially woc) cannot overcome their base urges and live virtuous lives without being heavily trained and coerced by threats of deprivation, isolation, and violence” is one of the most important unspoken ground rules of reactionary movements, both religious and secular
Evangelicals have no long-standing theological problem with abortion. My parents have been married for longer than evangelicals have been against abortion. Evangelicals in the 1970s didn’t care about abortion. Being against abortion was a Catholic thing. Evangelicals thought abortion is unfortunate, but not evil.
Bob Jones v. US (1983).
Bob Jones University, an evangelical school, had a segregationist dating policy. It means what you think it does – they wouldn’t allow white students to date black students. They also wouldn’t admit black students who supported interracial marriage. This was in the mid-70s. Loving v Virginia was nearly a decade in the rearview mirror. The government threatened to revoke their tax-exempt status as a university unless this Jim Crow shit stopped. The school sued, and this eventually went to the Supreme Court. The Court, unsurprisingly, agreed with the government.
What was clear to evangelical leaders, then, in 1983, was that out-and-out racism was no longer going to be tolerated. What could they focus on that would have the same effect? What could rally the base without openly espousing racist views?
Reagan, with his “welfare queens” dog-whistle politicking gave them a like-minded politician glad of their support. And Surgeon General C. Everett Koop was only to happy to tell people what he thought of abortion.
So here we are, thirty-five years later, with every evangelical doing their damnedest to pretend that evangelicals have always been against abortion. They’ve lied themselves into believing it, and now they claim they’re against birth control too. That’s even more spurious – If they actually thought life begins at conception, then birth control would be a necessity, because fertilized eggs being rejected is the norm. Most of what they want to call human life never even gets implanted in the womb, or lasts very long if it does. And if they cared about life, welfare programs ought to be the most important, to ensure everyone has a good standard of living worthy of human beings.
But they don’t care about those things, so the only conclusion is that they are not pro-life. They just don’t want to see family planning and health care go to women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, etc.
It was never about being pro-life.
(and incidentally – Bob Jones v US was an 8-1 decision. Who was the dissenting voice? None other than William Rehnquist. Who was elevated to Chief Justice by Reagan when Warren Burger retired a few years later. None of what has happened has happened by accident)
Randall Balmer has a really good article about that here.
And it’s worth noting that Bob Jones University defended their policy exclusively on religious freedom grounds, but Rehnquist’s dissent was based entirely on procedural grounds. Even the one justice who was “on their side” didn’t buy their argument and had to justify it on other grounds. It’s been a long road from BJU v. US to the Hobby Lobby case.
The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
White evangelicals and contraception: reversal and revision redux
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